Tommy Watson


Language:  Pitjantjatjara
Region: Irrunytju
Date of Birth: c1935

Content:  Tommy Watson (Yannima) commenced painting in 2002. Tommy paints his grandfather’s and grandmother’s country using strong, vibrant colours such as reds, oranges, burgandy, pinks, blue and white.  His works show the topography of the landscape. The large shimmering dots that surge in waves across the canvas enable one to view that landscape as a topography shaped by its cultural importance. 

Tommy was born circa 1930’s on a small Western Desert community west of Irrunytju, Australia. In this harsh and ancient country, through the guidance of his father, Tommy gained a deep understanding of his physical environment and it’s relationship with the ancestral stories, collectively known as Tjukurrpa which have come to form the central element of his paintings. His artworks fetch high prices and are highly sought after. 

“My grandfathers country, grandmother’s country. When they were alive, they would take me around the country, when I was a kid. That Dreamtime country. That’s why we look after the country, go out whenever we can, see if the rock-holes are good.” I want to paint these stories so that others can learn and understand about our culture and country. 

Selected Collections:  

  • Musée du Quai Branly, Paris
  • Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
  • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  • Western Australian Art Gallery, Perth
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